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Estimated Prophet
"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government."
-Thomas Jefferson
 
1.14.2005
I just don't know
 
April 11 03
A year ago yesterday Tom Hurndall died; he was shot in the head by an Israeli Defense Force rifleman while trying to get children out of the line of fire of an Israeli observation tower.

Initially the soldier claimed Hurndall was firing a weapon at him and was dressed in combat fatigues.

Sergeant Idier Wahid Taysir is charged with manslaughter for shooting Mr Hurndall, 22, as he tried to shelter children on the edge of Rafah from Israeli army gunfire in April last year. He died of his injuries in January.

The sergeant told the military court that after shooting Mr Hurndall he had reported it to his commander.

"I told him that I did what I'm supposed to; anyone who enters a firing zone must be taken out. [The commander] always says this," he said.

The army has already been accused of carrying out an unwritten policy of shooting unarmed civilians who enter a closed security zone in Rafah, which led to the killing of a 13-year-old girl.

Sgt Taysir told the army investigators he had opened fire at Mr Hurndall because the Briton was on the edge of the security zone, carrying a weapon and wearing camouflage clothing.

In fact, he had not entered the closed zone, had no gun and was wearing a bright orange jacket.


Tom's mom points out that there was a "warning shot":
We are now in the middle of the trial of the soldier who fatally wounded my son Tom in April 2003 while he was rescuing children from an Israeli soldier's gunfire in Rafah. In one of his five differing statements, the soldier confessed to firing a "warning" shot aimed between the top of Tom's ear and the side of his head. Some "warning" shot
.

The soldier fired his "warning shot" using a telescopic sight. From a guard tower, as reported in the periodical Yedioth-Ahronoth. (.pdf link follows)
The original IDF operational examination that was carried out shortly after the incident found that the IDF had returned fire in a way that was “justified, restrained and professional.” A single bullet was fired with the help of the telescopic lens of an M-16 A- 3 rifle at an armed Palestinian man, who had fired on an IDF position.
The Southern Command investigation determined that a man of approximately 20 years of age, dressed in camouflage, was seen emerging from an opening in a wall, followed by two children and a second bearded man who was approximately 30 years of age. The man wearing the camouflaged clothes was seen pulling out a pistol and firing three shots in the air, two of which were fired in the direction of the outlook post. The soldiers in the post ducked. The commander of the post positively identified a terrorist firing at him, opened the shooting crack and fired a single bullet from his gun.


Th article points out that without the Hurndall families involvement and media exposure the truth might have never seen light.

April 19 03

Journalist Nazih Darwazeh was killed while filming a stranded tank in Nablus, the IDF rifleman kneeled and shot him through the camera he was filming with. He was wearing a sleeveless bright yellow vest marked "Press" at the time of his death. I couldn't find much information on Mr Darwazeh. He left his wife and 4 children.

May 2 03
James Miller, a documentary filmaker who won three EMMYs, a BAFTA, five RTS Awards and a Golden Nymph was killed by IDF forces as he approached an armored personel carrier, wearing jackets and helmets marked "tv", to ask permission of the soldiers to leave the area he had been filming in.
‘We filmed from 8pm until 10pm on the Friday night. Then it all went quiet, so we decided to call it a day. But before we went, we had to ask permission from the APCs just in case they thought we were Palestinians and started firing.
‘Our translator, Aboud, was carrying a white flag to show we were civilians, and James was shining a torch onto the flag. I was two paces behind James with my arms in the air. We were all walking very slowly towards the APCs, shouting, « we are British journalists. We want to leave, » in English and Arabic.
‘We were waiting for a sign that they’d clocked us, but there was nothing. We walked a few more paces, and then there was one shot. We all assumed it was a warning shot, which usually means, « Stay there, don’t move. » But then there was another shot. I didn’t realise it at the time because I had flung myself to the ground. But this was the shot that killed James.

further on in the text
‘They were continuing to fire at us, but I ran over to James. I tried to give him first aid but, basically, he was gone. He’d been shot straight through the front of the neck – the only bit of his body that wasn’t covered.

The IDF offered their explanation of Miller's killing.
An Israeli army spokesman was quoted as saying that troops in the area returned fire after being fired on by rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Later, the army said that Miller was struck by a bullet from behind, claiming that he may have been hit by Palestinian fire.

An independent ballistic report belies the official excuse.
The bullet had been recovered on the inside of the ‘flak’ jacket that he had been wearing, the bullet having entered at the front of his neck and departed at his right, rear shoulder. The wound caused by this single track had brought about his death.

His family still awaits justice. A wealth of multimedia information can be found at Justice4JamesMiller.com

A Survivor
Brian Avery was lucky. An Israeli tank shot him in the face as he stood, hands in the air with another International Solidarity Movement witness for peace. The IDF offered Avery no assistance,although he was clearly an international observer.
According to testimony provided by ISM volunteers, Avery was standing under a street lamp wearing a bright vest with the word Doctor written in English and Arabic on back and front. The witnesses said an IDF tank and an armored personnel carrier showed up, and Avery and the other ISM volunteers raised their hands to show they were not armed. All the witnesses said the tank and APC continued approaching and when they were a few dozen meters away, fired about 30 rounds at Avery. He was gravely wounded in the face by the shooting and according to hospital documentation, the IDF paid for his medical treatment
.
Israeli military sources said the armoured vehicle was exchanging fire with a Palestinian gunman. Avery's companion said that was not the case.
... there were no clashes on the street where the shooting took place, nor indeed were there many people on the streets at all. As such, there was no reason for any weapons firing and there was no secondary target that the activists could be said to have been standing in front of or nearby, where they might have been hit in "crossfire".

On December 14 04 it was reported that Avery has petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to demand that the police, and not the Israel Defense Forces, investigate his case.

For whatever reason I remembered the anniversary of Tom Hurndall's death. In a quiet moment it came to me, so I googled it up. Sure enough. I hope those killed by the IDF in that time period, journalists or witnesses without a voice are not forgotten, not by the shooters or by we, who in the relative safety and comfort of our homes rely on these folks to inform us through their deeds and words of both the realities of the Occupation and the reality that one person can make a difference in the lives of others. The lives of strangers, half a world away who's lives are portrayed as caricatures in our media; people who love their parents and children, brother, sisters, and like us, want a better world for them. A world comprised of decency and justice, like all the worlds religions inform us of as possible, as the ideal way honoring our creation.

I see this headline: Palestinian killed taking pregnant woman to hospital. I read this:
The IDF (army) opened fire and the vehicle veered off the road and crashed.

"They were specifically deterrent warning shots fired at open field and not at the car."

However, Mahmud al-Asali, director of the Beith Lahiya hospital, says Mr Hassuna died of fatal gunshot injuries.

"He was shot in the right eye and the bullet exited from the back of the brain. There were no scratches to show that he had been in an accident," he said.

He says Ms Hassuna sustained a bullet wound in the hand while the second passenger has been slightly injured by a gunshot wound to the leg.


I see this headline: Israel Severs Ties with Abbas After Bombing. I read this:
"Israel is severing all planned contacts with the Palestinians on all levels, from security to government leadership," spokesman Assaf Shariv said, a day after the assault that defied Abbas's calls for non-violence.


Mr Sharon cannot control soldiers of the Israeli armed forces. Mr Abbas cannot control a percentage of the Palestinian population under occupation.

Having hope is a feat of faith. Same as it ever was.

1/14/2005
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